Best age to freeze eggs Eizellen Einfrieren
Egg freezing

What’s the best age to freeze eggs?

Egg freezing is a way to delay family building and increase your chances of having a biological child at a later age, when fertility declines. More and more women today are deciding to freeze their eggs and wait for motherhood. But how successful is it really, and what are the chances you will actually use your stored eggs? In this fact sheet, we explore what the research says about the usage and success rates related to egg freezing and pregnancy.

Egg freezing facts at a glance

  • Egg freezing has become more successful lately because of the new process of vitrification (fast freezing).
  • In terms of egg quality and count, the best time to freeze your eggs is before age 32. However, economic studies have found that there is a greater return on investment when freezing your eggs in your mid-30s (up to age 37), because the chances of using stored eggs are higher.
  • Your uterus can still support pregnancy until a later age, however the chances of pregnancy complications for mother and baby increase after age 35, and more significantly after age 40.
  • The quality of your eggs doesn’t decrease when frozen, and there is no “expiration date” on frozen eggs.
  • Your chances of a successful pregnancy depend on the age you were when you froze your eggs. So, if you freeze your eggs at 30 and use them for IVF at 40, you’ll have similar chances of success as other 30-year-olds. 

The important thing to remember about egg freezing is that although it boosts the chances of successful IVF and pregnancy when you’re older, it’s still no guarantee of having a baby.

How many eggs should you freeze?

This depends on how old you are when you undergo egg freezing and how many kids you want to have. Research shows that the older you are, the more eggs you should freeze to have good chances of a successful round of IVF later on.

A 2016 study by Doyle et al. published in Fertility and Sterility analyzed 1,283 vitrified eggs that were warmed for 128 IVF cycles. Based on the results, the researchers recommend women under 38 freeze 15–20 eggs to have a roughly 70–80% chance of at least one live birth. If you’re between 38 and 40, freezing 25–30 eggs will give you about a 65–75% chance of at least one live birth. 

Here’s a graph from the study that helps to visualize the probability of success based on the number of frozen eggs and the age at which eggs were frozen: 

Source: https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(15)02037-3/fulltext

If you’re 38 or older, you’ll likely need to undergo more than 2 freezing cycles to retrieve and store a good number of eggs. However, this also depends on how big your ovarian reserve is, as measured by the anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH). Fertility clinics generally advise against freezing your eggs if you’re over 40 because of lower egg quality, and some won’t offer the procedure to women in this age group.

When to freeze your eggs

Choosing what age to freeze your eggs is an important call to make. On the one hand, freezing your eggs in your 20s or early 30s will lead to higher chances of success with fewer cycles. But on the other, the younger you are when you freeze your eggs, the higher the probability is that you won’t end up needing them. 

Women who freeze their eggs later on likely need to go through more cycles of egg freezing and retrieve more eggs in order to have similar chances of success. More freezing cycles means more hormonal medication and costs related to the procedure. 

That being said, research shows that it is still cost-effective to freeze your eggs up to age 37. That’s because of the impact it has on IVF success when using eggs that were frozen years before. Plus, the older you are when you freeze your eggs, the greater the probability is that you will end up using them, so the return on investment is higher.

What’s the likelihood of using your frozen eggs?

When considering whether or not to undergo egg freezing, this is a common question women ask themselves. While this is of course very individual and will depend on you, a few studies have also looked into this.  

A high percentage of women who freeze their eggs never use them. Most studies show that less than 20% of women use their frozen eggs. When asked why women didn’t use their frozen eggs, they answered that they didn’t want to be a single parent, preferred to conceive naturally, or didn’t want to use a sperm donor for IVF. 

If you’re interested in egg freezing, you should first test your fertility with LEVY Health and speak with a fertility doctor (reproductive endocrinologist). You can read more about egg freezing in our other fact sheets: the egg freezing process and the main reasons women freeze their eggs.  

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